Irish History Week: Designers on Cúchulainn
In honor of Irish History Week, I asked a bunch of fellow designers to participate in a 10 minute Cúchulainn pitch – 5 minutes of research, 5 minutes of writing. A sizeable number of responses are already coming in, and I’ll be posting them in batches soon.
At the Austin GDC this past fall, I was talking with Jesse Schell about Irish history and mythology (these things come up amongst game designers). At roughly the same time, we both lamented how odd it was that there was not a game fully based upon Cúchulainn (pronounced Coo-Hullin but also referred to as Finn McCool). It’s not the first time I’ve heard this lament. In fact, most everyone who knows about Irish mythology raises the question at one time or another. He has been a boss in games, even the focus of a level in the Legends MUD (thanks, Raph), but at present and to my knowledge, he lacks his own game.
There are few myths more beloved in Ireland than that of Cúchulainn. Here’s a brief description of him from ye olde font of alleged knowledge (Wikipedia) to get you thinking:
At the age of seventeen he defended Ulster single-handedly against the armies of queen Medb of Connacht in the epic Táin Bó Cúailnge (“The Cattle Raid of Cooley”). It was prophesied that his great deeds would give him everlasting fame, but that his life would be short – one reason he is compared to the Greek hero Achilles. He is known for his terrifying battle frenzy or ríastrad, in which he becomes an unrecognisable monster who knows neither friend nor foe. He fights from his chariot, driven by his loyal charioteer Láeg, and drawn by his horses, Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend. In more modern times, Cúchulainn is often referred to as the “Hound of Ulster”.
Michelle Menard of Firaxis Games is up first.